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Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas

From: Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

Video: Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas

Copying and pasting Excel formulas is in many ways similar to copying and pasting a cell's other contents. But there are some important differences you should be aware of. In particular, there are times when copying a formula from one cell to another changes the formula's cell references. In this lesson, I'll show you several ways to cut and copy your formulas while maintaining control over their results. If you want to copy a cell's formula to another cell without the possibility of any of the formulas references changing, you'll need to copy the cell's formula by selecting it on the formula bar.

Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas

Copying and pasting Excel formulas is in many ways similar to copying and pasting a cell's other contents. But there are some important differences you should be aware of. In particular, there are times when copying a formula from one cell to another changes the formula's cell references. In this lesson, I'll show you several ways to cut and copy your formulas while maintaining control over their results. If you want to copy a cell's formula to another cell without the possibility of any of the formulas references changing, you'll need to copy the cell's formula by selecting it on the formula bar.

So in this case, I want to copy the formula from cell B8 and put it in cell E8, but I don't want anything to change between those two cells. So, I will click cell B8, and then on the formula bar select the formula, press Command+C to copy it, press the Escape key to stop editing that cell, which Excel interpreted my actions as doing. Then click cell E8 and press Command+V to paste that formula into the cell.

What I did was copy the formula as if it were text and pasted it into another cell. Excel didn't realize I pasted the formula into the destination cell until it read the cell's new contents and saw the Equal sign at the beginning. Now, let's suppose that I want to copy the result of the formula in cell B8, instead of the formula itself. Well, first I will delete the formula from cell E8, because again, that's my destination cell. I will select cell B8 and press Command+C to copy it. I'll click cell E8 - that's where I want to paste the result - and then on the Home tab, I'll click the Paste button's down arrow and click Values.

Now, instead of pasting in the formula, like Excel did last time, Excel pasted in the value. You see the value here, like you would in either case, but when you look up on the formula bar, you will see that the value 57,836 is there, instead of the formula, which finds the sum of the values from cells B2 through B7. The one down side of pasting a formula's result instead of the formula itself is that if the formula's inputs change, the cell where you put the current value won't update to reflect that change.

So, for example, if I were to change the value in cell B2 to 8,401, the total here would change; the total here would not. Again, this is a value. This is a formula. Now, I am going to show you what happens when you copy formulas instead of using the formula bar, but by cutting and pasting like you would normally. To do that, I am going to switch to the second worksheet, Revenue per Sale, and then in cell D2, I am going to type the formula =B2*C2.

The idea is that I want to try to find my total revenue from sales at 8,400 per average sale, multiplied by 102 sales. When I press Return, I get the value of 856,800, and I'll just format these cells using the accounting format, so that you can see them as dollar values. Now, let's see what happens when I copy the formula from cell D2 and put it into cell D3. If I press Command+C to copy and then click cell D3 and press Command+V to paste, you'll see a value that too large to fit into the cell, but when I expand the cell by dragging the edge of the column header, you'll see that the value is now over one million.

Now, note that the formula that I pasted in B3 to C3 is not the same as the formula that I copied, which is B2*C2, and you might ask why that happened. The answer is, as I mentioned in the last movie, absolute versus relative references. A relative reference can change, so for example here, where I have B2 and C2, these are relative references. So if I copy - as I just did - the formula to another cell, those references change to reflect how far they moved in the worksheet.

In this case, I moved the formula down one row, so that means the number would change, but the letters would not. We are still looking at B and C as our columns. So, this cell contains B2 and C2. When I copied the formula down one cell, it should make it B3 times C3, which it did. If you want to copy formulas to other cells, you can do that using the fill handle the same way you can extend the series. Let's say that I want to copy this formula down to cell D7.

To do that, I hover the mouse pointer over the bottom right corner of the selected cells that contains the formula I want to copy. As soon as the mouse pointer turns into a black four-way cross, I can drag it down, and Excel copies the formula all the way down. Because I use relative references, we now have B4*C4, B5*C5, B6*C6, and B7*C7. But now let's see what happens if I copy the formula down and I change the formula to use absolute references.

So, to do that, I would go to the Formulas tab, start editing the formula on the formula bar, click in the cell reference that I want to change, and then click Switch Reference. Clicking it once makes it an absolute reference on both rows and columns, which is correct. Then I'll click here, on C7, and do exactly the same thing. The dollar signs indicate we now have an absolute reference, and when I press Return, we get the same value. But now remember, copying the formula down will no longer change those cell references because I now have absolute references.

If I press Command+C to copy and then press Command+V, I still get the same formula. It stayed exactly the same, because I used absolute references. At first, copying and pasting Excel formulas seems to cause random changes to your worksheet. Once you know how copying and pasting works though, you'll find that you have a great deal of control over how your worksheet, and its formulas behave.

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This video is part of

Image for Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training
Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

100 video lessons · 30128 viewers

Curt Frye
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
  2. 20m 56s
    1. Exploring the Excel 2011 window
      4m 16s
    2. Introducing the Ribbon for Mac
      4m 44s
    3. Customizing the Ribbon
      4m 20s
    4. Setting program preferences
      3m 20s
    5. Getting help in Excel
      4m 16s
  3. 20m 4s
    1. Opening, creating, and saving workbooks
      5m 23s
    2. Setting workbook properties
      4m 14s
    3. Creating and modifying workbook templates
      4m 18s
    4. Managing workbooks across multiple versions of Excel
      6m 9s
  4. 1h 2m
    1. Selecting cells and groups of cells
      4m 58s
    2. Copying and pasting cell data
      2m 39s
    3. Entering data using AutoFill and other techniques
      4m 32s
    4. Inserting symbols and special characters
      5m 3s
    5. Creating an Excel table
      4m 43s
    6. Locating and changing data using Find and Replace
      4m 57s
    7. Restricting input using validation rules
      4m 42s
    8. Using lists to limit data entered into a cell
      2m 32s
    9. Sorting worksheet data
      3m 2s
    10. Creating a custom sort order
      3m 54s
    11. Filtering worksheet data
      4m 6s
    12. Inserting, moving, and deleting cells and cell ranges
      3m 50s
    13. Splitting and freezing rows and columns
      3m 51s
    14. Managing worksheets
      5m 28s
    15. Creating, editing, and deleting headers and footers
      4m 41s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Introducing Excel formulas and functions
      3m 17s
    2. Adding a formula to a cell
      4m 0s
    3. Introducing arithmetic operators
      4m 13s
    4. Using absolute and relative cell references
      6m 29s
    5. Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas
      6m 5s
    6. Referring to Excel table data in formulas
      2m 3s
    7. Creating an AutoSum formula
      3m 22s
    8. Summarizing data on the status bar
      2m 22s
    9. Joining text in cells with concatenation
      3m 59s
    10. Summarizing data using an IF function
      6m 21s
    11. Summarizing data using SUMIF and other conditional functions
      5m 41s
    12. Creating formulas to count cells
      2m 37s
    13. Rounding cell values up and down
      4m 55s
    14. Finding data using VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP
      6m 33s
    15. Auditing formulas by identifying precedents and dependents
      3m 25s
    16. Managing Excel formula error indicators
      4m 42s
    17. Managing scenarios
      4m 59s
    18. Performing Goal Seek analysis
      2m 31s
  6. 45m 48s
    1. Applying fonts, background colors, and borders
      6m 7s
    2. Applying number and date formats to cells
      7m 1s
    3. Managing text alignment
      3m 56s
    4. Copying cell formats
      4m 2s
    5. Managing cell styles
      3m 16s
    6. Managing Office themes
      3m 31s
    7. Creating rule-based conditional formats
      3m 54s
    8. Defining Top 10 conditional formats
      4m 19s
    9. Defining data bar, color scale, and icon set conditional formats
      6m 6s
    10. Editing, ordering, and deleting conditional formats
      3m 36s
  7. 36m 55s
    1. Creating bar and column charts
      5m 26s
    2. Creating pie charts
      2m 32s
    3. Creating line charts
      4m 34s
    4. Creating XY (scatter) charts
      1m 49s
    5. Creating stock charts
      4m 11s
    6. Changing chart types and layouts
      2m 22s
    7. Changing the appearance of a chart
      4m 25s
    8. Managing chart axes and numbering
      2m 51s
    9. Adding trendlines to charts
      4m 14s
    10. Creating sparkline charts
      4m 31s
  8. 18m 39s
    1. Importing data from comma separated value (CSV) or text files
      4m 20s
    2. Connecting to an external data source
      2m 22s
    3. Using hyperlinks
      6m 1s
    4. Including an Excel workbook in another Office document
      3m 5s
    5. Linking to an Excel chart from another Office program
      2m 51s
  9. 26m 21s
    1. Creating and formatting shapes
      3m 10s
    2. Adding and adjusting images
      5m 38s
    3. Cropping, compressing, and removing image backgrounds
      4m 46s
    4. Creating SmartArt graphics
      5m 7s
    5. Creating WordArt
      2m 34s
    6. Aligning and layering objects
      5m 6s
  10. 29m 51s
    1. Introducing PivotTable reports
      3m 47s
    2. Creating a PivotTable report
      4m 37s
    3. Pivoting a PivotTable report
      3m 18s
    4. Managing subtotals and grand totals
      3m 23s
    5. Summarizing more than one data field
      1m 34s
    6. Changing the data field summary operation
      2m 40s
    7. Changing the data field number format
      2m 27s
    8. Filtering a PivotTable report
      2m 46s
    9. Applying a PivotTable style
      2m 20s
    10. Creating and editing styles
      2m 59s
  11. 26m 47s
    1. Checking spelling
      3m 32s
    2. Setting AutoCorrect and automatic Replace options
      3m 59s
    3. Managing workbook comments
      3m 40s
    4. Tracking and reviewing changes
      5m 12s
    5. Printing a worksheet or workbook
      3m 44s
    6. Setting and removing print areas
      2m 31s
    7. Exporting to other formats
      1m 33s
    8. Protecting a workbook
      2m 36s
  12. 23m 52s
    1. Running an existing macro
      4m 56s
    2. Recording a macro
      3m 56s
    3. Recording a macro using relative references
      6m 15s
    4. Renaming, viewing, and deleting macros
      2m 58s
    5. Adding comments to a macro
      2m 43s
    6. Turning off screen updating in a macro
      3m 4s
  13. 1m 1s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 1s

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